DEAR ABBY: I work for a small corporation. I report to two people –- a husband and wife. The wife is my supervisor; however, I am an administrative assistant to her husband as well.
The wife is extremely intelligent and I stand to learn a great deal from her, but she has the worst body odor I have ever encountered. Not only does the entire office smell of her, but when she gets close, I'm afraid I will be ill from the stench. I don't know how to handle this.
With the hot weather here, the problem has worsened. The only good thing that has come out of it is that I have lost my appetite when she's around and am losing quite a bit of weight.
I would appreciate your advice. If the problem isn't solved soon, I'll be forced to find another job. -– OVERCOME IN GARDENA, CALIF.
DEAR OVERCOME: You would be doing your supervisor a great favor to tell her what you have told me. She needs to have a complete physical examination to determine the cause of the problem. (I am assuming that the woman bathes or showers daily and wears clean clothes.)
Since you cannot go on the way things are, you have nothing to lose by speaking up, as long as you do it in a kindly manner.
DEAR ABBY: I am in my 80s, and in fairly good health. I still drive a car, do my own cooking, baking, vacuuming, etc.
My wife has been in a nursing home for more than four years with Alzheimer's. She is well cared for. They feed her, dress and bathe her, and do everything necessary to keep her comfortable. I visit her twice a day.
When I meet people, or they call me on the telephone, the first thing they ask me is, "How is your wife doing?" I appreciate their concern about her, but nobody ever asks, "How are you doing?" "How are you getting along?"
I'm not looking for sympathy, Abby, but on the other hand, sometimes I could use a kind word or an invitation. – LONESOME IN SEAL BEACH, CALIF.
DEAR LONESOME: Yours is a common problem and you have my sympathy regardless. People do not mean to be insensitive, they simply haven't experienced what you're going through and don't understand how emotionally isolated you are.
The Alzheimer's Association gives referrals to family support groups nationwide. The toll-free phone number is 1-800-272-3900. Please don't wait to call them. Trust me; you'll be glad you did.
DEAR ABBY: Is there a kind way to direct houseguests to the main bathroom? For some reason, some of our guests –- even after repeated requests to do otherwise -– will use only the small private bathroom located off our bedroom.
These are well-meaning people (I think) who don't want to "mess up" the main bathroom, but we want our privacy! That's our private turf. We have even had some of them go through our closed bedroom door!
Is there any way other than not inviting these people over to get them to stay out of our private bathroom? Please don't reveal my name, city or state. We don't want to lose friends. We ... JUST WANT OUR PRIVACY
DEAR JUST: Yes. Keep the door to any room that is off limits locked. If anyone questions you about it, tell that person exactly what you told me. (With a smile, of course.)
Dear Abby is written by Pauline Phillips and daughter Jeanne Phillips.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)